Nick Saban, AJ McCarron praise walk-on quarterback

ANNISTON STAROctober 14, 2013 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After Alabama coach Nick Saban praised walk-on quarterback Luke Del Rio during his weekly radio show, starting quarterback AJ McCarron spoke highly of the true freshman quarterback.

"Luke has been very good. I like Luke a lot," McCarron said on Monday. "I kind of mess with him. He's always around me trying to learn everything. Sometimes you've got to try to hide from him, get away. He's a really smart kid, throws a really good ball, and I think he's going to be a heck of a player in the future. I really do."

Del Rio was one of four quarterbacks who traveled to Texas A&M and Kentucky, along with McCarron, Blake Sims and redshirt freshman Alec Morris.

Del Rio is the son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. He is one of three true freshmen quarterbacks on the Tide's roster along with Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod.

On Thursday, Saban said Del Rio is playing the role of the team's third-string running back.

"We've been really pleased with the way Luke Del Rio has developed as a quarterback," Saban said. "Probably not playing him this year unless we have to but he's done a really good job as the third guy."

A true freshman quarterback has never taken a snap during Saban's tenure at Alabama.

Anthony Steen

Alabama right guard Anthony Steen was named the SEC offensive lineman of the week on Monday for his performance against Kentucky.

"I didn't know until about an hour ago. My dad called," Steen said. "I was telling my dad I've been working trying to get that for three years now and I'm glad I finally got it."

According to the SEC, Steen recorded the top grade on the offensive line. He had no missed assignments, no sacks, no pressures and no penalties. Steen led the Tide's offensive line which did not give up a sack as a unit and averaged 8.4 yards per play. The Tide's offense piled up 668 total yards - the most since 833 yards vs. Virginia Tech in 1973. Alabama had a 300-yard passer and two 100-yard rushers for the first time in school history.

HaHa Clinton-Dix with scout team

Saban said nothing has changed regarding the status of suspended safety HaHa Clinton-Dix.

Saban said Clinton-Dix is helping the Crimson Tide on the scout team defense

"I think he's done as good a job in trying to practice and continue to improve working and practicing on scout team as anyone could," Saban said.

Clinton-Dix has missed the past two games after being suspended for a violation of team rules. Saban and Alabama have not commented on the specifics of Clinton-Dix's situation.

"I'm sure it's a difficult circumstance," Saban said. "Nobody that is a true competitor likes not to be there for his teammates. HaHa has been that kind of player for us."

Sophomore Landon Collins has filled in for Clinton-Dix at free safety. Saban said he would provide an update on Clinton-Dix when there is new information.

"You've got to make good choices and decisions about what you do, and when you don't do the right things, there are consequences that we all have to suffer through," Saban said. "Hopefully this will be a great learning experience for not only HaHa but each and every player on our team."

Players of the week

Arie Kouandjio, Kevin Norwood and Anthony Steen were named players of the week on offense. C.J. Mosley and A'Shawn Robinson represented the defense while Cade Foster, Christion Jones, Altee Tenpenny and DeAndrew White were on the special teams list.

Kouandjio and Steen, who was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, helped create holes for the Tide to rush for 299 yards and amass 668 yards of total offense. Norwood led all receivers with 81 yards on four catches with one touchdown.

Mosley has been on the player of the week list every week this season and once again led the team in tackles with seven. Robinson, a true freshman, was second on the team with six stops, including two sacks. Foster connected on both of his field goal attempts and had four touchbacks on eight kickoffs with an average of 64.6 yards per kick. Jones handled all returns for the Tide and brought back three punts for 52 yards along with two kickoffs for 49 yards. He also rushed once for 14 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards. Tenpenny had five rushes for 21 yards and a touchdown and was in on three tackles on the kickoff coverage team .White was on the field with the punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return units and caught four passes for 80 yards.

Alabama-Tennessee game time

Kickoff for Tennessee at Alabama on October 26 has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m., the SEC announced on Monday. CBS will televise the game.

SEC TV schedule for October 26

Vanderbilt at Texas A&M, 12:21 a.m., SEC TV

Tennessee at Alabama, 3:30 p.m., CBS

South Carolina at Missouri, 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2

Furman at LSU, 6 p.m., Institutional PPV

Florida Atlantic at Auburn, 7:30 p.m., FSN

Idaho at Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m., CSS

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